TRIBUNE – THE MAIL (28 / 07 / 22)
gale arrives That is when we prepare. A mixture of restlessness, fear and expectation moves within me the sensation that an event of the sea, of sailors, of fishermen from the Bay of Biscay brings. I have already experienced several gales, some strong, others not so much, all special. When will it arrive? At what instant will the wind roll? That moment makes everything stop and that mixture of fear and hope returns. Excuse me for writing about my sensations and feelings but it is summer. I come from the Bay of Biscay to the Mediterranean with days in Madrid for my mother's birthday and for European work. The sea waits moving, with its waves flapping, with its happy tips. I think of Sorolla and how he painted this light that is full and, at the same time, nuanced.
The European Union is going through gales. Those who know me know that I like to relate and that in my work analyzing and explaining European politics, I relate to try to capture what the EU is, what it does and how. Its political model and its integration process. His tireless project in this stage of geopolitical competition in which our hallmark of values, union in diversity, decision-making method, balance, normative and regulatory system, are very necessary. A time largely driven by the Recovery Funds with their digitization vectors and the European Green Deal. The Next Generation EU are opening a historic stage.
But, today I want to talk about gales, the moment in which the wind rolls. When I arrived in the Basque Country and realized that I could experience gales and say “the wind is rolling” I felt that saying those powerful words was a gift. At the moment when the wind changes to the northwest, a freshness floods everything. The whirlwind of winds, the movement of tree branches, of flying objects and people on the beach closing their umbrellas, illuminates a landscape somewhere between maritime and earthly in which the sea rules. Ships measure their ability to stay at sea or return to port and everything contains a message: gale, gale.
José María de Pereda collects in subtlety the gale of Glory Saturday of April 20, 1885, painting with words the one that hit the coast and the pain in which it plunged so many fishing families. A plaque on Rampa de Sotileza honors the protagonist of her novel. The ramp joins the Cabildo de Arriba in Santander with the sea. The emotion overwhelms me.
I like that color of the sky changing and changing. There is a time when the heat from the south wind mixes with the one coming from the northwest. Temperatures drop between ten and twelve degrees. It is precisely at that moment that I always put my face looking at the sea, wherever I am, see the sea or not see it. It is then that the smell of the sea permeates everything and a clean, fresh, alive sensation arrives.
When my daughter was three years old, I wrote for this newspaper “When everything stops” on the beach of Ea. I spoke of its tides, of the high tide that makes the boats in her small but large port dance, rock on the water after low tide. She still did not have the honor, the joy, of writing as a columnist for El Correo. Today, again, the sea links, assembles, time.
Politics also has galernas. It is necessary that they bring good things. A revival of honest and honorable politics. I think a political gale has to preserve what is worth and refresh what needs to be reviewed and renewed. It must be able to change a government that does not work for one that works and gives a real, representative and responsible response to the votes of the citizens.
The party that is not shipwrecked after the gale must refresh politics and refresh itself. Make what is worth and those who are worth survive, guaranteeing their permanence. Also to welcome in your port valuable new people who bring fresh wind. To ideas and content expressed and worked on by excellent professionals in their disciplines and with strength. People who truly believe in politics.
I like the expression: galerna is a serious word. I read Rafael González Echegaray and I see the gales of his life, of his Literature; the galerna word that comes from Galicia along the Cantabrian coast. I look at the Mediterranean, I have it in front of me, I think: you have your own storms. I smile at the Mediterranean, at the sea of my childhood that accompanies me in the line, in the voyage of life. Calms and storms follow one another in all the seas. The sea is sea. The sea writes poetry and makes us all a bit of poets.
Gales bring intuitions. A sudden change of weather, the dark gray color in the sky, clouds that outline what is coming. European politics is capable of formulating what will come. When EU policy is synchronized with national policy, everything tempers. There is in all storms a commanding center that is the genesis of the storm itself, where it originates. That center remains.
A political gale can never take what is constitutional. When the temperature of political confrontation drops, the quality of democracy rises. Thank you for allowing me to write about the gales in my life and the gale I believe in.
Susana del Rio Villar
Director of the group of experts Convention on the Future of Europe, Fide. Director of cycle Spanish Presidency of the Council of the EU
Article originally published as Tribune in EL CORREO on Thursday, July 28, 2022
Susana del Río director of the cycle Spanish Presidency of the Council of the European Union of Fide
Spanish and European speakers from all spheres representing civil society will participate in the cycle